Chelsea are among the favourites to sign Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona this summer, according to reports.
The France international looks set to seek pastures new when his contract at the Camp Nou expires on June 30. Barcelona (opens in new tab) are still keen to keep hold of the World Cup winner, even though his big-money move to Catalonia in 2017 has not been a resounding success.
Dembele has struggled with his form and fitness at times, and he seems keen to keep his options open as his contract continues to run down. According to football.london (opens in new tab), Chelsea (opens in new tab) are one of the clubs keeping close tabs on the situation.
Thomas Tuchel wants to freshen up his attack this summer as Chelsea attempt to get closer to the Premier League title next term.
The German worked with Dembele at Borussia Dortmund (opens in new tab) and hopes that their pre-existing relationship could give the Blues the edge over PSG (opens in new tab), another of the player's suitors. However, Chelsea will need to sell at least one of their forwards to make room for the Frenchman.
The report states that Timo Werner is the likeliest candidate to make way, but Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are other options. Meanwhile Joan Laporta, the Barcelona president, has admitted that Dembele is considering a move away.
“He wants to stay, but he is very tempted by other options that offer better conditions," Laporta told Catalunya Radio. "The offer has been presented for a long time and they have asked us for time until the end of the season, next week.
"We already wanted an answer before, but we can’t force it because Dembele ends his contract. The coach and I like him. We have made a very important effort to keep him.
"I see him very comfortable. There is a good personal relationship with everyone. [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] has come, with him and they are very good friends.
"He has some representatives who control the situation, but I hope he stays. If not, we will strengthen that position.”
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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